Hiking trips are not complete without the right clothes and accessories! Hiking is a great way to explore and appreciate the wonderful earth that we inhabit. Whether you are planning a hiking trip to the Rocky Mountains with your family, or an intense backpacking trip across Europe, this list will give you a good handle on what hiking clothes to pack!
Whether you are hiking in the desert or in a colder climate, you will need some sort of covering for your head. In warmer climates, guard your scalp against the blistering sun with a baseball cap or wide-brimmed hat. If you are hiking in a colder climate, you will want to wear a beanie or stocking cap. The thicker material in these hats will keep your ears warm so that you do not get a headache!
You will want to bring clothes that can layer! Moisture-wicking shirts are essential hiking clothes because they absorb your sweat without making you cold. They are useful for any climate you may encounter!
For warmer climates, you will want 2-3 tank tops and 2-3 t-shirts. You may also want to pack one or two long sleeve shirts in case the temperature drops at night! For colder climates, you will want 2-3 long sleeve shirts, 1-2 lightweight jackets, and 2-3 down or fleece jackets. Many outfitter stores like Patagonia and Eddie Bauer make down jackets that are compact for traveling. They take up very little space in your suitcase, but they are designed to capture your body heat and keep you warm. You are better off putting on more layers than being cold!
If you are staying at a place that has a hot tub or pool, you will also want to pack a swimsuit! There might also be lakes or pools on your hike where you will want to dip your tired feet and aching muscles. Be sure to plan your hiking routes ahead of time so that you can bring a swimsuit with you!
Regardless of the climate, you will want to pack a variety of pants. You may also want to layer shorts under your long pants if you are expecting temperature changes throughout the day. Long pants will protect your legs from getting scratched by branches and bit by bugs, while shorts will keep you cool in the sweltering heat.
For warmer climates, you will want to pack 2-3 pairs of long pants, preferably made with nylon or waterproof material. These hiking clothes will absorb your sweat without making you cold while protecting you from the elements. You will also want 3-4 pairs of active shorts. If you can find shorts that have pockets in them for your phone, that will be an added bonus!
For colder climates, you will want 2-3 pairs of pants and 2-3 pairs of leggings. Moisture-wicking pants are helpful in colder climates as well, but you will want to check the weather forecast ahead of time to determine exactly what kind of pants you should pack.
Socks are easy to overlook when planning out your hiking clothes, but they are so important! For professional runners, it is all about the socks. Sure, their shoes are important too, but socks determine how comfortable their feet will be inside their shoes. Hikers need good socks too! We recommend visiting your local outfitter store (such as REI or Urban Outfitters) to find appropriate hiking socks.
If you are in a warmer climate, you will want socks that are breathable but still provide a cushion inside your hiking boots. It is miserable to hike with a blister, so it is worth doing the research to find the right pair of socks for you! If you are hiking in a cooler climate, you will want moisture-wicking socks that prevent your feet from sweating. If your feet get sweaty in a cold atmosphere, it will cause your whole body to be cold. That is the last thing you want to deal with on a hike!
Although shoes are not technically considered to be hiking clothes, they are the most important tool you will bring on your hike! You want to find hiking shoes that fit your feet comfortably. If your shoes are too narrow or too wide, they will rub blisters on your feet that will make it hard to keep moving.
We recommend visiting your local outfitter store and setting an appointment to be fitted for hiking shoes. The store employees will know what questions to ask and what brands to try to find the best fit for you! This adds a little extra cost on top of buying your shoes, but it is totally worth your time and money!
Everyone needs a few accessories to complement their hiking clothes! We recommend buying some hiking poles that will give you stability and help you conquer steep slopes. If you are in a warmer climate, you will definitely want sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug spray. You may also want a bandana that can double as a head covering and neck cooler! If you soak the bandana with cold water and put it in your freezer or cooler, you can tie it around your neck for relief from the heat.
For hikes in colder climates, you may want to pack gloves and hand warmers. You will also want a neck gaiter to protect your face and neck from bitter winds.
Most importantly, you will need to stay hydrated! We recommend buying a CamelBak sling bag that holds several liters of water. You can fill the bladder with water and fill the bag’s pockets with snacks.
Hopefully, this list reduces your stress with packing and gives you the freedom to fully enjoy your hiking trip! Once you have these hiking clothes and accessories, you will be set for a grand adventure in nature!